Tag Archives: octopus

Thursday Coast visit

We had a great day at the coast this week. Brian wanted to see large expanses of water, and we decided the best way to do that on a Thursday was to drive to Seaside. Mostly because I have spent almost no time there since I was a child (we tend to hang out in the Central Coast or if we are in this area it tends to be either Cannon Beach or Astoria).

The drive up was really pretty, and there was much less snow this year on the side of the road (we were on Hwy 26 out this way last year with Tim). No elk this time though. We saw the rubble left by the arsonist who burnt down Oney’s – it had been there since the 1920s, so it’s horrible that someone would do that. I don’t remember if I’ve eaten there or not. Here’s the fireplace, still standing:

Oney\'s fireplace
Oney’s fireplace on Hwy 26.

Here’s their sign, which was untouched by fire. Two things I noticed after I took the picture, one of which makes me feel like a jerk: first, the sign said “New Owners” at one point but was painted over; second, taken from this angle, doesn’t it look like the lumberjack peed out the lake? Sigh. I’m a jerk. I know it.

Oney sign
Oney’s Lumberjack sign on Hwy 26.

Seaside was fun. We were mostly there to drink in the ocean, which calms and invigorates both of us. And to check out the aquarium which has been there for over 70 years. It was small and nice – they were the first aquarium to successfully breed harbor seals. They have a nice sized herd (? I’ll have to check on that collective noun) of captive-bred harbor seals that you can buy fish to feed.

Seaside Aquarium sign
Seaside Aquarium sign on the promenade in Seaside.

They also had a nice collection of local PNW fish and animals. The showstopper for me was the big open tank they had in the middle. It was covered with lots of paper signs saying “caution, freshly painted” so I briefly peeked into it and seeing nothing, moved on. Later, I realized there was a full grown Giant Pacific Octopus in it, which is one of my all time favorite animals. You don’t want to get me going on octopi, they are so beautiful and graceful and intelligent. I’ve read that their intelligence is pretty close to ours, and only their short lifespans (3-4 years) prevent them from having civilization. I can watch them for hours.

Giant Pacific Octopus
Giant Pacific Octopus at Seaside Aquarium.

He was so amazing once I realized where he had camouflaged himself. He woke up and noticed me watching him and we studied each other for a bit. Then he went for a swim around his tank, gracefully unfurling his tentacles as he went, occasionally sticking a tentacle out of the water, or even most of his head. I took a video of him swimming at this point, which I’ll post on here later after I upload it to vimeo or youtube.

They had a nearby tank that had fish in it, and a huge sign talking about octopi, so I turned around to read it. Lots of interesting information, not all of which I had known. One of the sixth sense sort of things happened, and I turned around quickly to notice that the octopus in the tank was behind me, and good way out the water reaching for me. !!! I am sure he was bored, there wasn’t anything in the tank for him to interact with or any toys, so given that we had been interacting for a half hour or so, it’s not surprising he was trying to figure out what I was doing. This room was cool – everyone at the aquarium was in the room with the seals, so there were large points of time when it was only Brian and I in with all the fish tanks and this octopus.

Still, having an octopus whose head is bigger than yours reach for you is a bit unnerving, so I wandered over to Brian to tell him about some of the interesting facts I had learned. He went over to read the sign, and sure enough, our friend in the tank started swimming again. I stood next to the tank and watched him, and Brian finally got concerned enough about how much of the octopus was out of the water that he told me to back up a little. Octopi move fast! In or out of the water. As soon as I backed away, the octopus went back into the water and back to his little cave in the corner and that was that.

It was so amazing though to be that close to an octopus of that size, and watch one watching me.

After that, we went for a walk on the beach, collect sand dollars and watching people digging for clams (it’s high season right now). A beautiful calming walk.

Sands at Seaside
Sands at Seaside.

After that we decided to head into Cannon Beach for dinner. We ate at the Wayfarer, which has a beautiful view of one of Oregon’s more famous Haystack Rock, and super delicious food. I will have to go back there even though we’ve vowed to only eat at new places on the coast since we fall into a bit of a rut. I had wild salmon topped with dungeness crab, with a rice pilaf & wild rice mix, squash and green beans, yummmmmm. We finished with chocolate souffle and peppermint ice cream, which may be one of the most perfect combination of taste for me. Service was great too. Brian pointed out that they had won one of Wine Spectator’s 2008 awards for having one of the best wine lists in the world. Cool.

All in all a completely lovely day. We hardly ever head to this part of the coast, and it’s the closest to us. And in winter, it’s not crazy-crowded as it is in summer, so perfect for us.

The coast with my family

Great time at the coast with Gretchen and the kids. We stayed at Inn at Otter Crest again, and while we really think with the exception of the bellhop and one other guy, the service is completely lousy (making me think twice about buying a unit), the room was quite nice and I love being able to walk down to the Devil’s Punchbowl.

We played frisby on the beach. I tried to do cartwheels and discovered I am no longer able (I think I’m a bit more top-heavy than the last time I tried. I know. I’m working on it.) so I will stretch much more and watch my diet closer and hopefully be able to do it this time next year.

We went swimming, even Brian. I don’t remember the last time he went swimming with me, it was sooooo much fun. Maggie ask him to throw her, and she went sailing halfway across the pool, it was soooooo awesome!! Matt asked for the same, but I think Brian realized his strength at that point, so he didn’t throw as far. I hope I can continue to talk him into at least occasionally swimming with me / us, it was really neat to see him swimming again. Even if he could standing in the deepend unlike the rest of us.

We ate at the Flying Dutchman, which was good. The next day we ate Mo’s (of course) and then went to Rogue for pizza and beer (root beer in the case of Maggie and Matt). Mmmmm. Otherwise we really just read, listened to the ocean, wrote in journals, swam and walked on the beach.

O! We did make it to some terrific tidepools on Devil’s Punchbowl’s beach (the marine garden side, not the surfer side). It was a negative tide and even though we were a little late to it, we got waaay out. The highlights were seeing a new anenome (pictured above, I usually see the light green ones on the coast, and the pink tipped ones just in aquariums) and an octopus!! I was so excited by the latter, I haven’t seen an octopus in a tidepool since I was a kid.

It was also nice to see these tidepools recover – the last time we had done any serious tidepooling there, they had been overcome by urchins, which is usually a sign of an unhealthy tidepool. Also saw two new crabs, which I took pictures of for my flickr pool so that I could identify them.

That’s the coast update. Maggie and Matt realized that other than family, I love the Oregon coast best.